The Spaniard first tasted glory in the final on the hallowed Roland-Garros courts in 2005, and has won 11 of the last 14 titles there.
French Open bosses said they had made a "special effort" to improve the earnings of players knocked out at an early stage of the Grand Slam this year. On the women's side, can Simona Halep defend her title? But they're 2-2 on the surface over the past two years, and Thiem won their most recent clash, in April, in straight sets at Barcelona.
The greatest increase in prize money this year has already been earned by players entering the first round of qualifying, with a relatively modest reward of just over £6,000 representing an increase of nearly 17 percent.
But despite mounting a fightback from 4-1 down in the final set, the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion could not fend off Austrian clay-court expert Thiem in their semi-final at Roland Garros.
Thiem leads 4-1 in the fifth.
His coach Nicolas Massu, however, had said he asked the tournament referee if the final could be shifted back 24 hours. I mean, it's not the first time that that happens in tennis, and it's not going to be the last time.
Thiem, 25, prevailed in four hours and 13 minutes of net play on third match point with a forehand victor. Thiem, however, despite being the second best clay-court player in the world, is yet to defeat Nadal in a major and has only won four of their 12 head-to-heads. It was six weeks ago.
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She finally held serve for the first time in the match, though, saving two break points in the third game. "I was very nervous (at Eastbourne) because I didn't even know if I would get in the draw", she said.
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The Djokivic-Thiem semifinal, which followed that of Nadal vs. Federer under Friday's gusty, turbulent skies, was halted several times for rain before being suspended for the day.
"It was an incredible experience last year and of course I'll try everything to be better this year".
"So I'm not going to be exhausted".
Thiem, meanwhile, has been getting stronger as the tournament goes on.
With Nadal the overwhelming favourite, Thiem refuses to put too much pressure on his shoulders. Nadal has saved 15 of 22 break points (68%) while Thiem has saved 17 of 32 (53%).
Djokovic could have been lining up on the opposite half this afternoon had it not been for the brilliance of Thiem.
"Of course it's a big dream for me to win that match tomorrow, to win this title".